Rising Graph

PokerScout Report: Online Poker Traffic Up Thanks to PokerStars

Last week was a good one for online poker traffic, as PokerScout reports that cash game activity was up 10 percent from the previous week. Debbie Downer, however, reports that most of that was because of PokerStars and its December Festival promotion.

The first week of the December Festival coincided perfectly with the first week of the month and because of what promotion kicked off the event, traffic surged. While there is one month-long promo ($1 Million Spin-and-Go), the highlight of last week was the $1 Million Milestone Hands promotion which awarded cash prizes to players involved in every millionth hand. Because of the nature of the promotion, players tend to sit at as many tables as possible to maximize their chances of getting lucky and being dealt cards when a milestone hand hits. Thus, cash game traffic naturally gets a significant boost.

When the final milestone hand – one which awarded even more money – approached, cash game traffic on Stars shot through the roof. According to PokerScout, traffic peaked at around 70,000 players when the 300th milestone hand hit at about 9:00am Pacific. Immediately thereafter, players logged off en masse.  PokerStars

As a result of the milestone hand promotion, PokerStars traffic rose 23 percent from the previous week. It was an artificial increase, but an increase nonetheless and helped bolster the rest of the industry. Overall, though, online poker cash game traffic is down 6 percent compared to last year.

Speaking of artificial increases, Adjarabet has continued to benefit from promotions tailored to reach as many players as possible. The poker room based in the country of Georgia previously made a run all the way to the top five of PokerScout’s rankings thanks to simple promotions that encourage players at all stakes to play as much as possible and while it is not quite that high up on the charts anymore, it continues to hit the right notes.

For the last couple weeks, Adjarabet has been running two simultaneous promotions: Magic Hand and Flush Bonus. Magic Hand is just like PokerStars’ milestone hands, just on a smaller scale. The winner of every 5,000th hand will receive an extra 50 GEL (about USD $27 today), while the rest of the table will split 50 GEL. For the Flush Bonus promo, anyone who flops a Straight Flush will get 50 GEL and anyone who flops a Royal Flush will win 500 GEL. Frankly, that seems like an awfully cheap prize to me, especially considering I have never once flopped either of those hands, but hey, it’s free money. When a total of 1 million GEL have been doled out for the two promos combined, they will end. Adjarabet expects the promotions to last about two months.

The promotions have allowed Adjarabet to stay in the top ten of PokerScout’s rankings, currently clocking in at the ninth spot with a seven day average of 1,200 players. Technically, that would put the site in a tie for eighth with Winamax, but Winamax had a higher peak in the past 24 hours. PokerScout says Adjarabet gained 20 percent last week after already posting a very strong 10 percent increase during the previous week.

The question that still remains for Adjarabet is whether or not it can retain most of these players once it decides to stop running these popular promotions. The genius behind the promos it has run the last few months is that they appeal to everybody, not just high stakes, high volume grinders. They encourage everybody to come play. Not long ago, Adjarabet was “Adjara-who?” but thanks to some clever marketing, it has elevated itself into a major name. The site will likely retain some of its customers if it there is a lull between significant promotions; it remains to be seen if it can retain most of them.

In the United States, PokerScout reports that the New Jersey online poker rooms posted a combined gain of 2 percent last week, with WSOP.com and the All American Poker Network grabbing a few players from the Party Borgata Network. Right now, the Party Borgata Network leads the New Jersey market with 160 cash game players. WSOP has averaged 120 players in the last seven days and the All American Poker Network has 75 players. WSOP.com in Nevada, though, was the biggest success story of the week in the States, growing 12 percent. It had eclipsed Party Borgata for the overall U.S. lead, but is now back down to second with a seven day average of 150 cash game players.

PokerStars remains the big kid on the block with 20,500 cash game players, followed by 888poker (2,400), the iPoker Network (2,000), Full Tilt Poker (1,500), PartyPoker (1,450), and PokerStars.it (1,450). Bodog is the largest U.S.-facing site, still flaunting it in the face of the U.S. government, with 1,350 cash game players. After Winamax and Adjarabet, PokerStars.es rounds out the top ten with 1,100 players.


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